Lesson Plans
Culture - Social Studies and/or Literature

SEMESTER: Early October preferred if you choose to cover the Halloween activity and the harvest wreath.

A Log's Life

by Wendy Pfeffer


    Online Culture Component - (Historical Timeline, PA German Traditions, The Roosevelt Chestnuts, Legend of my Italian Cousin, Tree Folklore, A Tree Myth, Poem – "The Sentinel")

    If you choose to study the symbolism of the poem, all of day one will be needed.

  • Read the Illustrator and Writer Career Profile


  • WRITING ACTIVITY - Write 3 projected entries or events that you "wish" would happen for the historical timeline. Explain what year each would occur, and why each event happens.

    For example, "2010 - The American Chestnut Tree reappears in New York City, growing wild in Central Park. Due to a successful planting exercise by PS 127 in the Bronx, a blight-resistant seed was carried by it's bur attaching to the wool sweater of a rollerblader, and later dropped onto the lawn near Tavern on the Green where it took root."

  • ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITY: write a poem about a tree or something connected to the tree in some way (it could even be an animal). Ask each individual child to decide on the theme, or the message that they want to deliver with their poem before they begin.

    For example: Leaf-Cutter Ant - "Leaf my tree alone!"


  • CULTURAL ACTIVITY -(ties into the "global beliefs" online page showing how different cultures view the tree.)
    Pick a tree. Ask each student create a representation of that tree in their own way. It could be a 3-d sculpture of pipe-cleaners, a poem or a short essay, a drawing in crayon, paint, pencil, etc., a "stick figure" made of found objects. Place no restrictions on their creative approach. When the projects are completed, conduct a positive review of each student 's result with the class first emphasizing what aspect of the tree they stressed in their representation of the tree. Ultimately, this exercise demonstrates how people see nature in different ways - even perspectives within a small group vary widely.

EXTRA ACTIVITY - (Halloween) design on paper or in real life, either a harvest wreath or a halloween costume depicting a natural forest element (anything from an ant to the blight).